October 19, 2016 - 6:08 AM
AUSTIN, Pa. - Pennsylvania state police say three men from Ontario died in the crash of a small plane that lost contact with flight controllers as it was flying from Virginia to Canada.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the Piper PA-28 took off Sunday from Richmond International Airport and was headed to St. Catharines/Niagara District Airport in Ontario.
Potter County coroner Kevin J. Dusenbury Sr. says the wreckage was found late Monday in Keating Township.
State police identified the victims as Rifat Tawig, 25, Benjamin Jeffries, 19, and 18-year-old Corey Mijac, and local media say all three were from Niagara Region.
The FAA said it lost contact with the flight over Potter County at about 7 p.m. Sunday.
Emergency dispatchers in nearby McKean County say they were contacted by the FAA after the aircraft changed course to avoid a thunderstorm. They lost radio contact with the plane when it was near the mountainous, remote area of Keating Summit.
The Civil Air Patrol released information Monday afternoon concerning the aircraft, prompting a search near Route 155 in Keating Township. McKean and Potter county emergency officials were joined by volunteer fire departments, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania State Police.
Police described the site where the single-engine plane crashed as "extremely rugged, steep and wooded" and extended several hundred metres through the woods.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating, police said.
— With files from The Associated Press
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016